Dealing with Estates

So far in my lifetime, I have had the responsibility of being the executor of three estates.  For the first one, it was very simple as my mother and father owned everything as joint tenants in common with rights of survivor ship.  Easy Pea'sy, a little title work to make sure that  clear title for mother was available

The second estate was a lot more complicated when my step father passed.  It was a formal, file it in probate, estate and had many convolutions as there were two adult sons on one side and four adult children on the other.  I was very thankful that we had a lawyer in the family that led them through the will process and then guided me through the probate.   As mom was in pretty good mental shape, it wasn't very hard to give her choices and then follow her wishes.  There was a few dollars in the cost of the legal process and the publication process. 

When mom died, her estate held little property,  mostly cash.   Mom's children were all in agreement of what to do and it has been a pretty smooth road.  I loved Mom's way of wanting us to handle the few residual items she had at the time of her death.   Mom did designate a few items to each child.  An example is the table my brother converted to a chess/checker board was specified as his.  One sister loved a table that Grandmother Petty had and it had a lot of personal meaning.  I was the proud owner of a table lamp my father made in high school.  The remainder of her items were brought together and all the kids got together.  The oldest got first choice, then my second sister got her choice, then me and then my younger brother.  That cycle went on until everything was either passed on or taken.  The remainder was donated to Good Will.  There were a couple of things at my brother's house in Tulsa and they were sold and the money put in the estate for division as cash.  He had a friend that had the need of the motorized wheelchair.

If I had to say what was the secret to having an estate work well is the ability of the family to discuss and work out the best way for the outcome to be the best.   We formed a limited liability corporation to deal with the property taxes on the oil and the income less expenses is passed on as personal income.  This is working out pretty well.

One of the guides I would pass on is to have a will and specify as much as you desire.  My wife and I both have everything in joint tenants and if something was to happen to us at the same time our son is the sole heir.      I hope I can leave enough for him to make the process worthwhile. 



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